Legislative Roundup: Passage in the House
We accomplished a great deal this legislative session.
For the first time in the Campaign's history, the Health Security Act (HB 101) made it to the house floor!
For the first time in the Campaign's history, HB 575—the Health Security Plan Analysis Act (a shortened version of HB 101)—passed the full house of representatives!
This was no small feat. Thanks to your calls, to our great sponsors, Rep. Debbie Armstrong and Rep. Bobby Gonzales, and to house leadership, we accomplished a major objective for this session!
So, What Happened in the Senate?
SB 172, the Health Security Act on the senate side, got tabled in its second committee. Two Democrats, Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, joined the Republican members of the committee to table the bill.
When it became clear that it was not feasible to put the bill back on the table for reconsideration, we focused on getting HB 575 out of the house. Once HB 575 passed the house and came over to the senate (March 15), it was given one committee assignment -- Senate Finance.
One committee assignment was great news. The problem was its assignment to Senate Finance. There were only a few days left in the session, and Senate Finance was still working on a budget/revenue package to send to the governor. That didn't happen until late Thursday (March 16). The legislative session ended on Saturday (March 18) at noon, so time clearly was not on our side.
Had the bill been heard on the senate floor, we believe it would have passed. But let's keep in mind that the governor would likely have vetoed it.
The Health Security Act in all its versions over the years has always required a fiscal analysis prior to setting up and implementing the plan.
Thanks to Sen. Howie Morales, discussions have already begun with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico and with New Mexico State University. The Health Security Act sponsors—in both the house and the senate—plan to help seek private funds so the fiscal analysis can be conducted. There are some really great prospects, and already a team of university experts has been formed.
The deadline for the analysis to be completed is October 2018, in time for the gubernatorial elections and the two-month 2019 legislative session (with a new governor).
We have a lot of work to do before then! Please consider making a donation to help uscontinue our important education and organizing work around the state.